When I open a new book I always wish, “Oh I hope this one is great or at the least good”. I’m sure we all do. It is the thought that we will find something amazing that keep us hunting for that rare treat.
Lately, aside from books in series I already loved, I would start reading and then halfway through the book I would be putting it down. This happens a lot that I lost count. And then just this week, I inadvertently open the first in N. K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy. I say inadvertently because I was not planning to read at all at that time.
So when I ‘fatefully’ clicked the ebook open I was just like, “Okay let’s see what this is about”. And well, let me tell you I was not expecting much but lo and behold, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is nothing short of extraordinary. Honestly, it makes me want to bang my head when I thought of how long this book has been sitting in my e-reader just waiting to be noticed.
The things I loved about this book?
1. It’s Original
The author has taken inspiration from existing religions and myths to psychology and politics, then weaved and twisted it into a brilliant tapestry of fantasy. Bonus point: The world building doesn’t overwhelmed.
2. Two words: Social Issues
Sure many books have addressed one or two issues but this is the first time I have read racism, sexuality, religious suppression, incest, slavery, and cannibalism in one book. And throughout reading this I was constantly saying out loud ” What the…?!” and “OMG!!!”.
3. Original Sin
If you are ever going to do a roll call – Pride, Lust, Greed, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath, and Sloth – Yes, the Seven Deadly Sins are all present in this novel. That’s not to mention everything else like torture, murder, and ancient rituals.
4. The Characters
Most of the characters are not what they seemed.
Here’s two of my favorites:
Nahadoth – An immensely powerful god. The first of the three birthed before time, now bound and chained into a human form, his power leashed. He is darkness incarnate.
Sieh – A god determined to pursue the path of childhood and has globes for toys. He’s adorable and charming. But be forewarned, he is a trickster.
The only thing negative I can say about The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (and I’m not sure if it is a negative) is that it is somewhat, slightly disorienting. The story does not progress chronologically, it goes back and forth. Add in the dreams and you are in for a ride. Personally, I liked how Jemisin have done it. It made things way more complicated and unexpected.
I’m excited to read book two, The Broken Kingdoms, so I will leave you with these quotes.
“It is blasphemy to separate oneself from the earth and look down on it like a god. It is more than blasphemy; it is dangerous. We can never be gods, after all- but we can become something less than human with frightening ease.”
“Sometimes I am more afraid of the blood in my veins than the souls in my flesh.”
“…and when I lift my head to scream out my fury, a million stars turn black and die. No one can see them, but they are my tears.”